Modi’s 100 days
Modi began his election campaign from Varanasi and ended the campaign there. His opening up foreign policy too began with signing of a heritage pact with Japan for Varanasi. Not only this he made it a point in inviting Japanese investment and entrepreneurs by giving the ‘make in India’ instead of ‘made in India’ a reality. Notwithstanding the border stand-offs, he has marketed India well in Japan. This must have given some uneasy situation for Chinese with whom he had much longer relations as Chief Minister of Gujarat. Modi had visited China four times as to seek investments in Gujarat. On the larger Asia-Pacific sphere, Modi has a tough balancing act to do given his close ties with Japan – China’s long standing adversary. Modi shares a great rapport with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe and may help him in getting Japan to reduce its concerns on issues like nuclear cooperation. While Japan looks at India as a counterbalance to check China’s assertiveness in the region, India will have to tread the path cautiously. Another big task for Modi would be to set things in order in India’s relationship with its ‘all-weather friend’ Russia. Post the UN vote on Ukraine and Syria and the edgy nature of recent rounds of defence deal talks, Modi has to rebuild the relationship even as India continues to increase defence cooperation with other countries. The upcoming visit to America is what is to be watched. With a not-so-comfortable relationship with him how Washington responds to Modi is to be watched. UK was among the first countries to build bridges with Modi and they hope to capitalise on the early mover advantage. While European Union remains among India’s biggest trade partners, the relationship is of greater importance for India given the weight London and Brussels carry at the world stage. Australia has come forward with furthering the relations and to improve investment climate. All this with a long overdue, most deserving and well timed rebuff nearer home to Pakistan; overall the 100 days of Modi rule looks positive and hold a promise as far as foreign policy is concerned.